Ben HaywardAugust 16th
2020

The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, has announced that the controversial algorithm for standardising A-level and GCSE results in England will now be ditched. 

Just two days after promising there would be ‘no U-turn, no change’ Williamson has announced that both GCSE and A-level results for students in England will revert to their teacher-assessed grades. 

The u-turn comes after growing political pressure as both Scotland and Wales decided to go with teacher assessments, culminating in the Prime Minister interrupting his holiday in Scotland to chair a meeting about the exams crisis.

The prime minister’s spokesman had hinted earlier today that a change of policy was on the way.

They said: “The whole of government has been working hard and continues to work hard to come up with the fairest system possible,” he said. “We recognise this has been an incredibly difficult year, and that is why that work continues. We recognise that many people are concerned and anxious about the exam grading system.”

At least 20 Conservative MPs had made their concerns about the exams crisis known publicly following days of turmoil, confusion and conflicting statements from the government and Ofqual, the exams regulator after A-level results in England revealed that 40% of predicted results had been downgraded.

The revelation caused anger and upset among both pupils and teachers, with many calling for the teacher-assessed grades to be reinstated.

The latest u-turn follows days of negotiations, with advice on appeals via mocks issued then withdrawn while hundreds of young people protested the government’s management of the situation outside the Department for Education, while many thousands more expressed their unhappiness on social media. 

The main issue to young people has been a downgrading of grades resulting in them losing university places.

Prior to this afternoon’s announcement,Kate Green, the shadow education secretary, said: “The injustice and chaos surrounding A-level and GCSE results must come to an end. We gave the government days, not weeks, to end the crisis but they have still failed to take action.

“Enough is enough. The government have failed young people and their families on A-levels and are threatening to do the same with GCSEs. The government must now allow young people to use the grades their teachers predicted at both A-level and GCSE.”

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